Starting in the fall, the University of Georgia School of Social Work, Georgia State University School of Social Work, and the Georgia Division of Family and Child Services will collaborate in efforts to increase Georgia’s capacity to deliver high-quality child welfare services.
For the next four years, the two universities and state agency will evaluate the health of the child welfare agency and create a leadership training program for DFCS employees. UGA and GSU will provide tuition stipends for DFCS staff who wish to earn a master’s degree in social work.
The staff will receive child welfare-specific training in topics identified as priority areas by the school’s faculty and the professional community. The school also will offer new and revised child welfare-related curriculum to all students in the graduate social work program.
The UGA School of Social Work will admit two groups of six to seven students who are current DFCS staff in administrative positions or have been identified by the agency as having management potential. The UGA portion of the project is funded by a $650,000 award from the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute.
The funding supports a comprehensive assessment of Georgia’s child welfare agencies that will identify strengths and challenges such as burnout, case manager training and supervision quality.
“UGA has partnered with DFCS for many years—in the Title IV-E program, in our work with DFCS boards, in developing the DFCS employee selection protocol, and in our many internships with DFCS,” UGA School of Social Work Dean Anna Scheyett said. “This new initiative is exciting because it builds on our existing work and expands it into the area of leadership workforce development and data-driven change.”